Monday, April 17, 2006

Cameras Don't Lie, Republicans Do

Forget about guns, it's cameras that should come with a mandatory five-day waiting period. If they did, maybe San Diego Republican Howard Kaloogian would make less of an ass of himself.

Kaloogian is a failed politician who made a few less-than-spectacular runs for the Senate and the House, garnering 11% of the vote for the former in 2004 and failing in his bid to replace disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham for the latter in 2006.

According to Wikipedia, Kaloogian has had a long and troubled relationship with the truth. In his bid to replace Cunningham, the Kaloogian camp was found to have falsely claimed that four different organizations had endorsed the candidate. Kaloogian was also shown to have posted an altered a photo of himself with President Bush on his campaign website that made the diminutive candidate appear taller than he really is. He also posted a photo with U.S. troops that was purportedly taken in Iraq, but was actually taken at MacDill AFB in Florida.

His latest photo blunder takes the cake, however. (An excellent summation of the whole affair can be found at Eager to grab an opportunity to crap on the "liberal" media, Kaloogian posted the following photo on his website:

Here is Kaloogian's caption:
We took this photo of dowtown [sic] Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it — in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.
Yes, journalists hate America. Unfortunately for Kaloogian, the photo raised a few eyebrows in Weblogistan. What's wrong with this picture?
  • There's no Arabic, which one might expect in a picture of Iraq
  • The girl on the left side of the frame is wearing a quite revealing tank top
  • "Noter" is Turkish for "notary"
  • Edo is a Turkish ice cream manufacturer
  • "Carsi" (in yellow at the far right of the picture) means "shopping" in Turkish
  • The taxi does not look like a Baghdad taxi
That's right, this is a photo of Istanbul. Not Baghdad. Nice try, though, Howard. Interestingly enough, it's a picture of the pedestrian mall in Bakirkoy out near the airport which was bombed yesterday. If they had just stuck around, this scene would have looked a lot more convincingly like downtown Baghdad. You start off blasting journalists for unprofessional behavior and you end up pulling a Jayson Blair. Oh, the irony!

This illustrates a larger problem with our war on terror as well. Do we really want the Battle for Western Civilization waged by people who are so stupid they can't tell the difference between Arabic and Turkish? (Hint, one of these languages is NOT IN A SCRIPT MOST AMERICANS CAN READ!!) The inability to tell the difference between two such fundamentally different cultures as Turkey and Iraq does not augur well for our efforts to win over the Muslim world. Maybe we need some kind of cooling-off period before declaring candidacy for political office.

Kaloogian has removed the photo from his site and has blamed the "mistake" on a Webmaster. Sure.
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